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The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Shops Part 1: What are Facebook Shops?

In mid-May this year, Facebook launched its biggest move in e-commerce yet; Facebook Shops.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Shops via a live session on 19th May 2020. The e-commerce feature allows small businesses to build online stores on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

The vision of the social media giant is to build the infrastructure for entrepreneurs to sell products through Whatsapp, Messenger, and Instagram Direct in the future.

The company also promises to make it possible for audiences and customers to tag products during live streaming events.

Before we get excited about the possibilities and opportunities presented by this new feature, below is everything that you need to know about Facebook Shops.

What Justifies the Creation of Facebook Shops?

As the world is grappling with the reality of COVID-19, small businesses all over the world are struggling to stay alive.

A day before the launch of Facebook Shops, the Social Media behemoth released its State of Small Businesses Report. The report was subject to a survey involving 86,000 small businesses in the US. A noteworthy result was that 31% of the small businesses closed shop as a result of the global pandemic.

According to Zuckerberg, one way that businesses can survive during this crisis is by moving operations online.

"Now we are seeing a lot of businesses that never had an online presence move online for the first time, and we are also seeing small businesses that had online presence now make the internet their primary way of operation," said the Facebook CEO.

"This is not going to make up for lost business, but it can help. For lots of businesses during this crisis, this could be the difference between staying afloat and going under,"

Small businesses are significant to Facebook. According to the CEO, a vast majority of Facebook's advertising comes from small businesses, which translates to a significant portion of their revenue.

It is no wonder why the social media company invested a lot in helping small businesses to weather the storm that is COVID-19.

Introducing Facebook Shops

Facebook Shops is a platform that allows small businesses to build an online presence by selling their wares across Facebook's family of apps, including Instagram and Facebook.

A business owner can create a dedicated shop on his/her Facebook or Instagram page. From your shop, you can build a catalog of products and services that your visitors, followers, or fans can browse, share, save, and purchase.

While  Facebook Shops are beneficial to all businesses big and small can benefit from this feature, it is especially valuable to small businesses.

Sops are fee and easy to create, and most importantly, they are integrated into Facebook's family of apps. To the advantage os small businesses, Shops are highly customizable. You can choose the products you want to feature from your catalog and customize the feel and look of your store with a cover image and accent colors that reflect your brand.

Facebook is also working with brands like Shopify, Woo, BigCommerce, Channel Advisor, Cafe24, CedCommerce, Tienda Nube, and Feedonomics to help brands integrate their stores and bring products to Facebook.

Facebook Shops gives Shopify Merchants control over the customization and merchandising of their storefronts inside Instagram and Facebook. All of this while managing products, orders, inventory, and fulfillment directly from within Shopify.

Facebook Shops also come with augmented reality and powerful AI tools. Potential customers can try on your products before purchasing. This feature is especially useful in the fashion and clothing industry.

An e-commerce store cannot be effective without sufficient customer support. With Facebook Shops, customers can seek assistance by messaging your business through WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, or Messenger. These channels are open for communication on product questions, tracking deliveries, customer support, and more.

With Facebook Shops, you can establish a reward program for your loyal customers. Your clients will be able to keep track of their points and rewards.

Plans for the Future

The social media giant also plans to present a Live Shopping feature in the future. This upgrade will be available across Facebook and Instagram and will allow shoppers to place orders on Live in real-time.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, more than 800 million users engage in live broadcasts across Facebook and Instagram. Most of these broadcasts are product tutorials and launches. There is already a strong e-commerce culture attached to Facebook and Instagram Live.

With Facebook's upcoming live feature, you will have the ability to tag different products from your catalogs or Facebook Shops before a live transmission. The products you tag will appear at the bottom of the screen for potential customers to see. The viewers can learn more about the products.

Facebook and Instagram are already huge shopping destinations. Facebook Shops are about to open the floodgates for new opportunities to small businesses around the world.

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